Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Die In Order To Live

Are these the only two choices?

It is election time is upon us once again and once again I will not be participating in the sacred ritual of the American civic religion we call voting. This shouldn't be a shock to my friends who have previously discussed the utility of voting. In fact, it was an email discussion amongst friends about voting that inspired the creation of this blog to provide an easier forum to express sound and ridiculous opinions. My perceptions of voting are not absolute as they once were as I continue to listen to others' views that impact my beliefs. One with no allegiances finds voting to be a rather easy and painless act of democratic participation. The one who claims Christ as Lord, however, quickly understands that voting entails an endorsement of men and women who mostly act in complete contradiction to the will of God. What is the Christian to do? I can't speak for others; I can only speak for myself.

Why do I choose not to vote? In recent years I've to come to see voting as increasingly futile in advancing the Christian's vocation to pursue the will of God. The unfolding of the will of God is not contingent on the existence of democratically elected governments. Earthly governments and its representatives can neither advance nor impede the will of God. The will of God will continue to march on despite the attempts of governments and rulers to lag behind. What is the only institution that has the ability to advance the will of God? Simple, the Church. The Church is not a reflection of earthly governments, but a glimpse of the kingdom before it comes in its fullness. Christ, not presidents or dictators, is head of the Church and we are its representatives. As representatives of the Church we are called embody Christ's presence, which compels us to give, forgive, and love unconditionally. Government representatives consumed with power most often seek to steal, avenge, and love only those who vote them into office. Furthermore, the gulf between the will of the nation and the will of God is so vast that it can never be bridged.

But isn't the Civil Rights Movement (which you love so much) an example of the positive power of voting? First, the civil rights movement did not begin by seeking the right to vote. In postwar America, African-Americans initially organized to obtain the rights of home ownership, which was denied them by discriminatory federal housing loans and racist real estate agents. The second battle of the movement was school desegregation, which was being prevented by elected government officials like George Wallace. Voting represented the final important battle of the civil rights movement. The issue of voting in the movement does give me pause and compels me to recognize the need for voting. The movement leads to me to the possibility of voting for issues like school levys that directly impact the community rather than voting for corrupt individuals who only listen to powerful lobbyists. But Chris, isn't it the corrupt individuals that propose the issues and taxes? Yes, but the voting for issues gives me the ability to check their corrupt nature.

I do, however, also see the civil rights movement as a powerful example of a group of people that for most of their American existence had been denied the rights of citizenship, yet it didn't inhibit their capacity to pursue the will of God for their lives. The Bill of Rights is an amazing document that grants privileges that are unknown to many in the world, but these rights are not essential to the Christian life or sustaining the will of God. As I've said before, the one freedom you will not find in the Bill of Rights is the freedom from death, which is only provided in the amendment of Christ. The choice for the Christian is not as stark as P Diddy (above) would have us believe. Life in Christ is dependent not on the ballot box, but on the cross and empty tomb. In confessing Christ as Lord the Christian had decided not whether to vote or die, but instead chosen to die in order to live.



ace,  2:50 AM  

Your comments about freedom from death are very strong. And your connection to the Civil Rights movement compelling. Voting is becoming more of a conflicted thing for me. While I used to say that it was worthwhile to pick the lesser of 2 evils, that idea is slowly losing it's appeal. Did I vote? Yes. Why? Not sure.

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